Ice Age - Troubled Waters


Kiji, Ishino, Naoya, Yoichi

Date: January 27, 2016


A team of Kirigakure Shinobi are dispatched onto a mission, first to locate and then to disrupt operations that may be dire to the villages continued existence. The mission was a success, yet it was also a failure in several ways.

Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.

"Ice Age - Troubled Waters"

Shifting Territorial Seas

Operation Snow on the Trail was quite informative after some operational information had been gotten from the caravan drivers Kiji captured on the mission before that. While they don't yet know the location of the group's permanent bases, if any exist, they at least know the general direction the weapon were being carried in. Yoichi, Kazumi, and Okami were on that mission while those Yoichi taken the previous mission were allowed to treat their wounds and recover, so he couldn't take them too far into enemy territory and going in himself could prove fatal and useless long-term in the war. So, after the information was gone over and the team had enough time to recover, the Swordsman brought Naoya and Kiji along once more with some serious backup in the form of the former Swordsman Doihara Ishino.

Inside the cabin of the ship they're riding to the upper east side of the empty land east of the Land of Marshes, Yoichi has maps laid out on a table of this continent and the areas around it. There's a pen in his hand as he draws out the trails all the caravans have followed from the information they've gathered thus far. "What's interesting about these patterns is that they all move to the north of the continent, but none of them go to the same place. After docking and being moved across the continent, none of the caravans even go to another dock or an area suitable to land another ship. We've combed all of the areas and found nowhere that the amount of metal that they're hauling could be stored either."

Ishino would be there with the others, looking over the map provided by Yoichi while absently sipping a cup of tea that was brought to him by the old man that hangs around Ishino so often. Looking to the others, he'd give a small nod then look to Yoichi. "So then the question is.. where do they actually bring them, right? Caverns? If they just vanish, then into the ground would make a good first thought for myself, however I haven't fought them, so I wouldn't know such specific details. How about you?"

"Caravans moving to different sections of outcrops, each one not to another port, each not to a visual storage site.." is repeated partially by the young Okumo before his eyes close and his head shakes gently from side to side. Leaning forward, he extends one cloth covered finger and uses it to lightly trail between each of the estimated caravan drop points. "Is there any information about this line or any trace that is similar to the pattern?" Glancing to the side, his head would lightly dip towards Ishino at the mentioning of a possible underground route. "Through the ground, or possibly along the surface.. Their own caravans weren't just driven by pack beasts, I severed the ties of one, only to have one of their creatures take its place." Turning his gaze back towards the maps, Naoya shifts his position, trying to find a topographical map to check for continued slopes. "Though.. I could imagine they could shape their own land vessel of ice, this warmth won't last much longer."

Kiji had stayed back for the most part. She had never been great with maps and strategy. Least of all strategy that seemed designed to be completely random. She could see the maps from her place against the cabin wall but had kept quiet for the most part. Ishino was along.. and Naoya. She felt more like muscle.. only.. she wasn't even that was she…. A sidelong glance at Naoya and then back to the map. "Isn't there a dormant volcano system up there? Volcanic cave systems can branch out for miles and it's the last place someone would expect a Shirayuki to hole up."

Listening to each of the others' input, Yoichi waits until each have spoken their thoughts before he speaks again. "The issue we have is their sheer number. As well as the group knows how to cooperate with their jutsu, there's not much they can't do, which leaves us with quite a number of possibilities of what they could be doing to transport these items. We've gathered some information, but this still leaves them with a distinct advantage over us. I hope we can rectify this with this mission, but be prepared to pull out if they start to overwhelm us. Wisdom is preferred over bravery at this point since any one of us could be vital to the survival of the village." He then moves his pen again, marking a two new paths and a point where they intersect. Aiming at the first one from lower down the continent toward the middle of the southwest area that heads up to the top, he says, "This is where the shipment that's supposed to be moving today is landing." He moves the pen back to the point of intersection then, a point much higher up the map near the top, saying, "We will meet their path here and follow them to try and see how they transport their goods from the island. Once they've made it that far, they're unlikely to halt the shipment, but we only have one shot at this without them changing their movement pattern. If we fail, we will be starting from scratch, and the village could suffer an attack while we try to regroup. I trust you all understand how dire the situation is?"

Ishino eyes the map solemnly, looking from it to Yoichi with a small nod. "Then we simply make sure we do not fail, or at the least, leave no survivors. But you and I are rather good at making sure that happens, no?" He'd smile slightly then shrug, looking to Kiji and Naoya. "I think out plan is set then. We'll do what we can to track them. If it comes to combat, make sure to not be overwhelmed. I think this is possible to happen." Ishino shakes his head slightly. "But I'm not one to sneak around. So I should be in reserve?"

"I'll stay ahead of matters, out of us I think I can travel the swiftest while remaining discrete.." Turning his head to one side, Naoya shifts his gaze onto the young woman among them. "Your other state, while it is swift it left you open during the last assault.. If you can use it only as a last result, if we loose track of them for a moment, your sight will be needed most of all. They might not be only where we assume, try to make sure we aren't walking into a preemptive counterstrike." Shifting his focus back onto Yoichi he dips his head lightly before looking down towards the map again, taking note of the fresher markings being drawn. "How long will we be following them, as long as possible after the second pickup?"

Kiji simply nodded to Naoya and continued to listen to the three men. They were working out the strategy just fine. She would have to stay further back in order to keep out of sight.. I there was one thing she was not it was discreet.

"Leaving no survivors is not as important as surviving ourselves at this point. The conditions aren't typical, but we do take out as many of them as we can," Yoichi says with a nod to Ishino. Looking to Naoya and Kiji then, he nods to Naoya and says, "That should work. We will pursue from the second pickup and try to get our best guess of where they're taking these shipments to. If we can locate their home base or at least where they're assembling their weapon, we'll have an edge up on them, and we may be able to create another advantage for ourselves."
As the boat docks, the captain whistles the signal, and the Swordsman nods to Naoya, saying, "Move on ahead. We'll be behind you."

Ishino pursed his lips and nodded slowly. "Fair enough. We'll see how it turns out in the end. Just as long as they don't mess with the suit." Ishino shrugs and drinks some more of his tea. He'd wait for them to take in what Yoichi said, then the captain told them it was time to go. Ishino would head out with the others, letting Naoya take off first as Ishino strolled outside with the old man holding an umbrella over his head to make sure Ishino didn't get wet. So what if it was the middle of swamps with a war going on. There was no need to not be civilized about it.

Shifting one foot behind the other, Naoya leans slightly forward as his head dips down, "I'll see how quickly I can catch up to them." Standing upright, he would take a few steps before tapping the middle of Kiji's collar bone and leaving his finger to linger. "Speak slow, they will not understand words, but they can read lips. Remember, you can get my attention quickly with them, they will know what to do if I don't order a response quickly enough." As he spoke, a small trail of single file spiders would slip from his fingertip and extend out and crawl onto the young woman, numbering nine in total. Lowering his hand to his side, his image blurs with sudden movement as he proceeds in the suggested direction though he was mindful of his surroundings, trying to stay out of direct sight between hasted steps.

Kiji blinked as Ishino went off with his servant… To be entirely honest she had one of those looks on her face that grumpy teenagers had when someone stole their date. And it was aimed at Ishino as soon as he took off. Kiji wasn't trying to be disrespectful but she looked at Naoya and Yoichi, indicating the parting puppeteer with a thumb ad an expression that asked what the eddy.
Naoya's approach got her more serious and she accepted the nine spiders onto her. They would have to keep mostly away from her hair but otherwise she nodded to Naoya. She could easily pull that off. As he left she turned to look at Yoichi.

Yoichi nods to Ishino and then to Naoya, watching the interaction between her and Naoya a moment before Naoya takes off. He gives the Okumo a good head start before looking between Ishino and Kiji and saying, "Let's move out. Don't move too quickly as we don't want to draw attention to ourselves until the opportune moment." With that they'd take off on the same path as Naoya to make themselves available in case things go south.

In Naoya's pursuit of the caravan, he would intersect its path fine. So long as he doesn't attack it or perform another action to mess up his cover of stealth, he is able to tail the caravan to the northern edge of the continent to a rather rocky shore with a steep dropoff. There are four Shirayuki there in pairs of two, a few hundred feet from each other. As the caravan approaches this area, the wagons split into two groups to head to each pair while the Shirayuki make hand seals then slam their hands on the ground. With the casting of their jutsu, what appear to be sealed off tunnels of ice rise from the depths, their entrances opening as they reach the shore to allow the caravans to come inside once they get close enough.

Rather than closing the distance, Naoya comes to a pause a fair distance out, allowing him to overlook the area while trying to remain out of direct line of sight. Murmuring softly to himself he sounds, 'Hmm.. So it was underground after all, though not in a way we could easily slip through to access.' Lifting a hand up to the side of his head, he scratches at his scalp as his fingers ran through his hair, trying to force himself to run through how to reopen the passage. Crouching low, he slips his fingers together and closes his eyes, focusing his chakra to take more direct control of his brood, namely the ones with Kiji at the time. The reaction would be quick subtle at the same time, finding a section of bared skin the spiders would allow one to begin to draw along it, painting the pair of symbols representing 'Here'.

Kiji nodded to Yoichi's orders and turned to the spiders as they waited for Naoya to get ahead of them. She pulled blood from her left arm , inserting hardened 'bubbles' under the top layers of skin. This would allow Naoya's spiders a more familiar ride as well as quick access to food if the brood needed energy and to her blood stream in case Naoya needed to heal her for once. It would be a little more spacious than naoya's skin pockets but for on the fly it was a pretty good understanding of how they lived. Plus she wouldn't have to think too hard about protecting them in case she was engaged.
Once that was done a few moments passed as she collected her chakra and opened her mind. She tried to tell if any of the enemy sensors were active but also where everything was. The spiders drawing the character on her arm made her nod and she spoke softly to them. "Return."

Having given Kiji the order to have Naoya return to them, the Swordsman keeps charging ahead until they meet the Okumo in the middle of the path. Not wasting any time, he says, "Give me the details of the situation."

Furling his brow slightly at the odd request, Naoya taps with his left foot softly twice, resulting in several spiders slipping free and scattering in teams of three to gain vantage points while their host disappeared once again. Retracing his steps to minimize his markings, it wouldn't take him much time to close the distance between himself the the awaiting team. After regrouping, Kiji might notice the Okumo's eyes were a darker tone than they usually were along with his chakra becoming more pronounced even though it was minimal. "We it was thought, the team they have recovering the caravans are underground, more exactly they are within frozen tunnels." Turning his head to the side, his eyes shift towards the direction he came before nodding lightly. "They are rather skilled, able to manipulate the ice that currently exists naturally in this season and hardening it with their teachings. A section is broken off, used to act as a mouth to the deeper network, though they close it behind themselves."

Kiji slowed as she sensed Naoya ahead more by familiarity than because his stealth failed. And his report made her tilt her head. "An assault on a complex like that could end up being a siege and I don't think it would come out in our favor." She looked between the two curious as to what they would say.

"Quite a tactic there," Yoichi says, pondering a bit of strategy over a moment. After some long moments of pondering, he looks to Ishino and says, "Akane might want to kill me for this when we get back to the village…. I need you to attack the tunnel to the left. Don't try too hard to kill them and get caught in a battle. I just need you to collapse that tunnel and make a big enough distraction that the three of us can follow the other tunnel unnoticed while I sneak us alongside the other tunnel. If we can follow it far along enough, we should be able to spot their main base without them actually knowing we're here unless we want them to." Seems he and Kiji have the same thought process here. Trying to use those tunnels themselves would be a suicide mission.
After Ishino is given a bit to act, the sounds of crashing and splashing start to ring out from the battle. Meanwhile Yoichi signals for other two to follow him off to the side a few miles from the site at the shore. Once there, he brings his hands into a seal and is surrounded by water that flows up from the ocean, which he yanks the other two into with him as it turns into the shape of a whale then dives down into the water and starts to swim down through the ocean toward where the tunnels are, sticking far enough away from them and doing some normal things such as eating some smaller fish to look inconspicuous while they move along the tunnel path. As they get further and further along, however, the see something quite disturbing. There are quite a number more of these same kinds of tunnels headed toward wherever it is they're going, and these are only the ones on this side of it. "These Shirayuki have quite a widespread operation," the Swordsman says in a low tone with a frown from inside giant clone-turned-whale. "But, since this seems to be the center of where the tunnels are all heading, this could be their main base we are moving toward."

While Naoya followed along behind the swordsman, he doesn't speak any further somewhat curious as to what was actually being planned and executed.. it wouldn't be until the water surrounded him that he realized that level of danger he was in and had agreed to, though it was already to late as the creature took him within itself hastily. Moving a hand up to his mouth, he covers it quickly along with blocking his nose, making sure air wouldn't escape during the travel. With his eyes wide, he watches their surroundings from the odd point of view but reading his face a single question could be read 'What does chakra need with a school of fish' as the creature ate the local wildlife for a time.
After the mention of tunnels, from Yoichi, he could only shake his head gently. Turning towards Kiji, he motions with his free hand towards his eyes before motioning towards the center of his forehead, then following outwards with two fingers towards the tunnel system with some urgency. With his face flinching, Naoya grumbles and moves his hand away from his mouth and to his hands, forming several seals slowly, seemingly preparing something of his own.

Suffice it to say this wasn't the first time Kiji had been in the belly of the whale so to speak. In fact she had been in it a couple times. So Naoya's odd reaction got a small chuckle from her. It was eating fish so it would be taken as a real whale. But when he motioned for her to sense in the direction of the ant colony's worth of tunnels she turned and did so, reaching out to see who was where and what they were doing in her range… She would communicate these things to her fellows.

The team travels a distance of many many miles with more tunnels becoming visible as they do so. Finally after a few hours, they are able to see an area where the floor of the ocean rises up to become the foundation of an island, and the wale stops. From their current vantage point, the team are able to see where all the tunnels intersect to move into the island. The wagons obviously move into the island from underground, which is why they're never see again until they're making another run for supplies. There's also another odd thing, a series of over a dozen ships that seem to be pressed together for some reason. The whale surfaces a bit then, looking up out of the water for a few moment to gather information before it moves back down into the water and starts to swim around the island a bit. Yoichi thinks a long few moments before looking back to the others. "Okay, so I may've lied about all of us getting out alive being the priority. After the two of you complete your task, haul ass back to the Land of Marshes and meet up with Ishino."
The Swordsman literally reaches into his own belly to grab a scroll, which is revealed to contain a map and long set of notes as he opens it. He makes markings on the map to indicate the location of the island as well as some more notes about the tunnel system and such. Once he's done, he holds the scroll out to Kiji, a stern look in his eyes as he speaks. "I'm going to do something incredibly stupid… But, if I pull it off and you pull off your task here, the mobility of this weapon will be compromised beyond repair, and they will be forced to defend it and themselves here rather than bringing it to Kirigakure. The ships over there have all been linked to create a massive transport vessel. Something like that takes months to create, as does the transport module at the bottom of the tower. Even with their numbers, it's not something they can do quickly, and they won't risk holding it up with jutsu that can be destroyed by a counter-element." After a brief pause as he look between them, he says, "My signal will be my Thunder Gate jutsu. When you see it, destroy the ships beyond repair as best you can then get out of here. I'll make sure all eyes are pointed on my jutsu, so you should only have minimal resistance to your attack. This scroll has to get back to Kirigakure at all costs. If I don't make it out… Don't come back for me without an army."

Over the course of time when Naoya could feel his lungs almost to the point of bursting, he takes in a much needed breath, only to find the whale.. oddly breathable but it wasn't sure if that was more worrying to him or less. "Those that fall, fall. They will be remembered.. Those that commit suicide and lose relics entrusted to them are not remembered fondly," is said in a somewhat dulled tone as he looks over towards Yoichi, though he doesn't glare at the man, his fact was mute from expressions.
Shifting his focus onto the scroll and then onto Kiji, he falls silent, listening to the orders and the plan being laid out before them. Closing his eyes lightly, he begins to nod his head gently and breaks his silence. "Kiji-san, the ideal I told you to harken before.. this would be a time for you to attempt it. I cut down men, beasts and the living.. Destruction is one thing I don't excel. I'll act as your support while you focus on your arts." Bringing his hand down and to his pouch, the young man pats it gently twice though it sloshes within the water. "I will stay well, the brood will keep me going and give me time to weave myself together again even when I shouldn't."

Kiji listened to Yoichi's words, a look on her face that said she was somewhere near just arguing with Yoichi. Silently she took the scroll as her eyes flashed crimson, the black invading. taking over… She stood there or a moment… staring at the scroll… Then she glared up at her mentor, a hint of the rage that made her strong in her eyes… The girl carefully put the scroll away safely… but her teeth were clenched together. After a long moment she finally seemed to relax and calm down. When she looked up her eyes were black. and ice blue. "If you die… I'll find a way to bring you back so I can kick your ass." Bravado? definitely. But she had been warned even by Meruin's visions about her tendency to lean on emotion…. She looked to Naoya and nodded as whips curled around her arms and legs…

"And those that make snide remarks at times because they think they know better waste their breath," Yoichi remarks back to Naoya, apparently not impressed with the Okumo's words. He then looks to Kiji, smirking darkly at her words. "What's that saying?… Only the good die young?.. I don't think you have anything to worry about." With that, he simply steps out of the clone-turned-whale and starts to swim toward the island to try and make his way up the island as a small stream of water in an attempt to remain unnoticed by the Shirayuki long enough to get close enough to attack the tower.
When the 'whale' surfaces to let Kiji and Naoya out at the back under the large set of ship, they'd be greeted by the sight of a rather immense ice fortress that looks like it belongs in a horror movie, bearing spikes of ice all along it and many towers and halls. It's an entire town and castle that can be weaponized for attack and defense. In the very center of it, however, is the most frightening sight among these things, an enormous tower colored so that, from a distance, it blends in with the sky and isn't noticed unless one is specifically headed to a part of the map that is supposed to be uninhabited. The very top of that tower has what looks like a giant ice crystal in the shape of an eye, likely the place from which the attacks made by this thing will come.

After breaking the water, Naoya quickly takes a deeper breath of fresh air and held it in for several moments adjusting to the chill that bit into it. "Better.. much better.." is softly said while a hand drift to his right hip, slipping into a pouch and withdrawing a thin necked phial only to bring it to his lips. "I'll be following your lead this time, pick your first vessel I'm already prepared to handle them." Tilting his head back, he quickly drains the small container which causes his neck to tense violently. Leveling out his gaze, the elixir began to work quickly through the only external shifts were an increased breathing rate but more subtly the young man's blood vessels were starting to darken as if some ruptured from bruising.

Kiji surfaced along with Naoya, turning to watch him as he spoke to her…. She frowned at the darkening of his skin. Was everyone here trying to get killed? No matter… She sighed and nodded. They moved closer but Kiji remained in the water, using water walking to propel her rather than to walk atop it. Once they were close Kiji's blood began to seep from her veins. It was going to take a bit of concentration but… she moved the blood through the water a foot or so below the waves to keep it hidden from casual view. It took several moments as she worked to begin laying the traps…
Focusing she would find the 'link point' between vessels and lay bits of her blood along those points (preferably below the point of casual viewing) And she pressed some against the hulls of the ships themselves below the waterline…. And then she waited…. Her eyes half closed as she concentrated…

While Yoichi's plan of entrance is a good one, the sheer mass of skills in this Shirayuki encampment is a bit much. Sounds of calling to alarm ring out, meaning the Swordsman has been detected… quite well verified as shuriken of ice begin to rain down from the towers and wall of ice at where the puddle he's made of himself sits. This wouldn't usually be much of a problem were these simply metal shuriken, but those made of ice can be a danger to a Hozuki. Of course, this begins the distraction a bit early, though the signal has yet to be given.

As the shuriken of ice begin to rain down on him, Yoichi's stream moves up and flows further into the encampment to quickly turn back into the form of himself. He quickly reaches back as shuriken pass through his body without harming him, slamming them into the ice and causing a spark of electricity to flow between them and himself. He then points his hands into the sky, sending a bolt into the sky that begins to charge it. The clouds above began to glow with more and more chakra before a massive bolt of lightning comes down like a pillar upon the fortress, splitting out into several bolts aimed at killing some of the Shirayuki as well as trying to destroy the mobile base of the tower, or at least take the first step toward doing so.

"Hmm.. this is a better brew than last time," is softly said, a smirk appearing on the young man's lips though it wouldn't last long as Kiji began to make her move. Moving the empty container down and into his pouch, his hand slips further back, allowing Naoya to grasp the hilt of his blade before slowly drawing it out, leaving it in the reverse grip for the time being. "Good good.." is commented as he began to watch flecks of blood began to be directly and left along the connection points securing the vessels and their contents to one another. Turning his head to the side, his eyes quickly shift to that of the keep, noticing the flash storm that suddenly was upon them. "That's our signal.. I didn't think it would be this soon. Focus only on your task, you'll draw quite a few of them from him. Your sensei will be alive enough for you to try this technique on him within a season." Turning his attention back towards the ships, the young man began to look at their railing, searching to see if anyone noticed them already or if they had gone unnoticed.

Kiji was aware of the thunder gate, though she did not see it, her eyes were still half closed, focused on controlling the larger amount of blood that she was having to use against so many targets. But Naoya made sure to alert her as well, confirming what she had felt… With a burst of focus and chakra she utilized her blood to burst the patches of blood along the connection points and the hulls. Assuming she nailed them, she should at least be able to cut holes in several vessels as well as breaking their connections. It would tax her though….

Much to Yoichi's chagrin, since the Shirayuki figured out as he was coming before he could launch a surprise attack, thus they are able to throw up massive walls of ice all around the village and the tower to deflect all but the one of the branches of the enormous bolt from getting through. It strikes one of the corners, causing the tower to lean just a bit, but not enough, along with striking down upon some of the Shirayuki and causing them to cry out as some are extinguished. The many that remain, however, begin their assault, creating a huge number of enormous monsters of snow that start to charge in at the Swordsman to strike at him.
Meanwhile, due to the massive distraction of the battle going on in the village, the mercenaries aboard the vessels are unable to detect Kiji in time, and she's already torn through the hulls of half of them before they notice. They're unable to reach her in time to block the rest, and she rips holes through the rest of them as well. The ships begin to sink from the back, but now the mercenaries KNOW they're there, so they begin throwing knives, shuriken, and whatever else they can get their hands on. A few, however, are turning to run toward the village to try and alert the Shirayuki of the presence of more than one enemy shinobi.

The Swordsman apparently steeled and prepared himself for this particularly dangerous mission. A look of fierce determination shows on his face as he grabs his blades from the ground while the snow monsters strike his body, going through him without causing any damage. He leaps into the air as the strikes pass through him, kicking off one of the beasts and going even higher as he whips the blades back. Dozens of whips of lightning sprout from the blades, growing to extreme lengths as he sends them down upon the Shirayuki to try and scorch them with lightning and bind them to stop those around him from preventing him from attacking the tower.

Shifting his position, Naoya moves forward rather than simply strafing side to side once the barrage of blades and tools are hurled towards him from the crumbling ships. Crouching slightly he begins to rotate two full turns, in that time ivory webbing rapidly flows out thickly, scattering across the sea but also against the ships, producing a barrier ensnaring most of the projectiles through some still manage to slip past his guard. With his forward position, it was clear he was angling himself between the ships and Kiji, though his webbing wasn't perfect and an thrown axe managed to slice through and continue forward towards her.
Despite the blood that began to flow from his wounds he doesn't slow down or retreat but moves forward, separating for where Kiji had been standing, chasing after the runaways. "Bleed out those that get in your way but focus on those ships! I'll try to delay the reports but we have to hurry!" Slowing down once he manages to catch up to the slowest runners, Naoya slashes forward with a liquid coated blade, taking aim at their tendons before moving to the next as he took aim for hobble them more than kill them outright.

Kiji noticed Naoya's angle and though it bothered her to let him fight for her she turned to aiming at the ships again, using the blood already in the water at the hulls to rip even larger holes in the hulls and to finish off the connections between ships…. She noded to Naoya's words and deflected the axe thrown at her with a ring of blood that surrounded her above the water. She was concerned about Yoichi and Naoya but she had a job to do and since /she/ had the scroll…. She couldn't dive in like usual.

Luck be a lady tonight… Apparently all the experiences of getting dissected by these Shirayuki has paid off. Not one of the tails of lightning misses its mark this time around, binding all the Shirayuki within the area around the tower. However, this isn't going to leave an opening TOO long, so, if the Hozuki doesn't act quickly, he's going to be in serious trouble… Or maybe he is already. A familiar voice carries on the cold wind through the fortress, a dark chuckle from the woman who has toppled this Swordsman time and again.
Meanwhile Kiji and Naoya find quite a bit of success themselves. Though one of the runners manages to outrun Naoya's onslaught, the others are caught and stabbed, mostly dead and paralyzed as well with the ships utterly annihilated. Now the question becomes if they bother killing the one remaining runner while the ships sink into the sea or just get out of here and hope they can get away before any Shirayuki is warned.

Though his onslaught is successful, Yoichi is beginning to wear low on chakra… And that woman is here. He growls to himself a bit, bringing his hands into a seal and using water he absorbed while in the sea to take on an ENORMOUS form as he lunges forward to literally tackle the tower toward the corner he managed to break earlier, using the momentum to send the giant structure crashing to the ground. The chances that this breaks the tower or makes it unrepairable are slim, but, if he can manage to make it so they can't repair the parts that make it mobile in time to attack Kirigakure before Kirigakure can attack them, his mission here will have been a success.

Looking over each of the ones that were left, he makes two shallow cuts, cutting below the main artery in that throats, leaving them to bleed out, but most importantly scream and writhe while the toxin numbs their body. Lifting his sword into the air, Naoya slashes downward suddenly, whipping the toxin that coats it onto the ground across the two fallen men before sheathing the blade, leaving the last runner to continue on freely. 'Run.. run as fast as you can. Cause them to draw their forces here so he can run away.' Kicking off, the young man hastens his way back towards where he had left Kiji to continue with the destruction of the transport ships and their remaining crew. "We need to be moving, now. One of them is still making way to the keep, they'll be coming out here in force." Looking at his form, it was splattered in blood though the flayed clothes, his wounds were starting to be bandaged with staining webbing.

Kiji was standing on top of the water looking over the remains of the sinking ships when Naoya reappeared. He shouted at her and she nodded, pointing in the direction he was running. "Keep going." Then she focused and as Naoya would run past, wings sprouted from her shoulders and back, this time with a cover along her spine like dragon scales. Leaping into the air she had to take several yards worth of take off speed considering the water. But then she swooped down and grabbed Naoya, picking him up before shooting at top speed away from the village, praying Yoichi would make it out…

As the hulking structure falls, structure of ice and bodies alike are crushed underneath it. Shards of ice fly up from the fortress in enough volume for Kiji and Naoya to see even from their place as they fly away. While some of the Shirayuki were going to start chasing them, their lives' work has just been toppled, and so they're rushing back toward the center of the fortress to see what they can do to help as well as for revenge against the one that toppled it. As dozens and dozens of Shirayuki start to surround the battlefield where Yoichi now stands back at his normal size…
While Yoichi struggles to maintain his form with the very bare amount of chakra he has left, actually struggling pretty hard. If he can manage to gather some chakra, he might be able to defend himself long enough at least to keep anyone from recognizing Kiji and Naoya's flight path…
But then comes that laughter again as the woman that has made herself the bane of the Hozuki's existence appears out of a flurry snowflakes that carry on the breeze in some sort of body flicker. With a simple raising of her hand, all the other Shirayuki remain in their places looking down at Yoichi. "I'm glad we can finally meet formally… My name is Shirayuki Setsumi," she says with an eerie smile at the Swordsman. "Try to remember that if you remain conscious through this. I'm rather curious to see how that goes." With a motion of her hand, the Shirayuki all jump back except those needed to work the weapon, whom move inside the tower and start to work it with their jutsu, causing the gem to turn toward Yoichi. From afar, one might spot what looks like a huge brilliant light as the eye-shaped gem begins to glow with chakra and then fires out a fierce beam of ice shards and ice chakra-filled water that blasts the Hozuki, who is too exhausted at this point to mount a solid defense….. Fade to black.

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